“If I knew back then what I know now. / If I understood the what, when, why and how. / Now it’s clear to me. What I should have done. / But hindsight is 20/20 vision.”
~George Benson, “20/20” (1985)
THE FIRST year of the New Decade is coming to an end. This is a year that we expected a “perfect vision” or a show of ambition and surprises. However, we did not foresee a global outbreak.
The COVID-19 pandemic puts a halt to the production of those things we looked forward to and puts precarious precautions on the essentials. In addition, the premeditated fall of a media giant has led other surviving competitors to either fight rapaciously over new broadcast rights or gain more and rediscover a better purpose.
In this two-part of the year-ender, how did the remaining TV networks respond? (NOTE: Let’s just pretend that ABS-CBN and the ZOE deal that forms A2Z are no longer relevant to discussions anymore because, well… you voted for it, you asked for it.)
The first part tackles the Remaining Two Major Networks: GMA and TV5.
Proclaimed as “The Philippines’ Largest Network” since May 6 (and reaffirmed and crowned on July 10) benefitted the windfall — a lion’s share in the pool of TV advertising money — without any impediment. Whether a pandemic or competitor’s fall, the common negative connotation of their over-all operational attitudes like complacency and craftiness has mostly not changed.
In June, during their 70th (corporate) anniversary, they cunningly launched their Affordabox and introduced new digital and inclusive subchannels — Heart of Asia and Hallypop — to teach the former competitor a harsh lesson that exclusivity of their channels for five years is a big mistake.
Six former Kapamilya talents jumped over the fence — Daryl Ong (immediately after the end of free-to-air operations), Khalil Ramos (to join his girlfriend Gabbi Garcia), Luis Hontiveros (the nephew of Senator Risa, who jumped to the network a few days before Congressional ultimatum), Miss Universe 2016 contingent Maxine Medina, Clarence Delgado (a Goin’ Bulilit alumnus) and Richard Yap (Sir Chief).
It’s easy to label the newly crowned media giant for being “law-abiding”, “exemplar” or a paragon to the TV industry in the post-ABS chapter. Well, one organic institution and the social media public thought otherwise. On September 22, the Supreme Court ordered the reinstatement of 30 workers and compelled the network to pay them back wages since their illegal dismissal in 2013. Earlier this month, a renowned documentary photographer exposed the predatory practice of asking for free work from amateur and professional photographers or videographers for their public affairs programming.
Since the fallen competitor dissolves its regional network group, they are the only national network that has the capabilities.
Last November 1, GMA News TV drew under fire for not having a marathon coverage over the swathe destruction across Bicolandia due to Supertyphoon Rolly. People expected this channel to be next in line now that (DZMM) Teleradyo is out of reach in times of calamities. This error was compensated when Typhoon Ulysses battered Luzon one and a half weeks later.
With NCAA on the bag, they have no more excuses to establish one organizational deficiency (i.e. turn their Sports into a separate from but equal status as to News & Public Affairs); in other words, no more time for “playing safe” — at least, in this organizational and operational shakeup.
The network from Reliance/Novaliches gained momentum this year and is now the No. 2 TV network.
Before the pandemic, Manny V. Pangilinan bagged an award from the Asian Television Awards back in January — that was aired on this network — for the Award for Outstanding Contribution to Asian Television, solid Kapatid viewers laughed hard. Once the elephant in the room fell, it’s like that they took it back and forgave him.
After the Congress’ contrived fate, the network is willing to lend a hand for talents — creative, technical and artisans — from the further loss of exposure and to revive the local entertainment after a four-year hiatus. The local entertainment revival was done in three waves through blocktimers — including Albee Benitez’s Brightlight Productions that containing Kapamilya-molded talents and directors. (In one of the predictions, we were spot on that they air Masked Singer Pilipinas.) They bore the light and they somewhat live on their legacy.
They are bearing a load of sporting contracts once held by Dos (especially S+A) like NBA and ONE Championship, pushing the NFL into the satellite-only broadcast. With UAAP’s airing rights in their hands, despite the cancelation of Season 83, their sportscasting portfolio is overwhelmed.
One may say that this TV network has been exemplified as the Good Samaritan in the world of priests and Levites.
While the shows they aired were promising and praiseworthy, the signal reception has always been a butt of the jokes for MVP’s media empire. Had the reach be at par and consistent with GMA, there would be more viewers who will lure to Reliance because of their gallant initiative and provide alternative options to “cringy” production value from
Coach Anzai’s Felipe Gozon’s media realm. Yet, they should be mindful of the lessons of hastiness from the previous decade. The entertainment programming honcho, Perci Intalan, must remain steadfast amidst the insistence of die-hard Kapatid viewers.
Part II, dealing with Minor VHF and Significant UHF/Digital Channels, will be tackled on December 29